With the unique formula of herbs and alcohol in a drink, Bio Tech has been creating a buzz in the liquor market.
--By Upashana Neupane
With an advertising tagline: “Do not drink if you can, drink bio if you must,” Bio Tech Spirits is promoting its two liquor products in Nepal: Bio Vodka and Bio Whisky. With the unique formula of herbs and alcohol in a drink, Bio Tech has been creating a buzz in the liquor market.
Bio Tech Spirits Nepal, a franchise of Biotech Spirits, India, has rolled these products based on several years of research of an Indian Scientist Dr Srinivasa Amarnath, the company claims. Dr Amarnath, a recipient of Indira Priyadarshini National Award, India, had researched on producing alcohol in such a way that it would not affect human body as it had affected one of his family members. After testing his various concoctions through surveys throughout the world, he finalised this formulation and started its commercial production from last year as its sole owner. Its first plant was in Himanchal Pradesh, India. After that he came to Nepal which makes Nepal second in the world to produce Bio-Alcohol.
Bio Whiskey and Bio Vodka are the unique combinations of alcohol and herbs which are rich in ayurvedic value. Pratap Rawal, chief executive officer at Bio Tech Spirits Nepal Pvt Ltd claims that both of the liquor are herbal products and do not contain any artificial chemicals. The drinks contain 13-14 medicinal herbs like aswagandha, brahmi, tulasi, honey, among others which is beneficial for the human body. Also, Rawal claims that these drinks do not contain glycerine in it as it is free from any artificial chemicals. “Body accepts these drinks easily,” says Rawal, “This does not cause hangover.”
Adding on that, Rawal also claims that these products are the smoothest drink in the world until now. “Our drinks provide smoothness to the throat. It has been tested in Chivas factory and other finest distilleries in the world and they’ve complimented it to be smooth and for having minimal side effects,” he claimed.
Having said that, Rawal states though their products are bio and contains herbs they can’t claim it to be beneficial. “As it is an alcoholic beverage, we cannot claim it to be beneficial,” he says, “But we would surely say that it is less harmful than the other liquor choices in the market. We are not trying to establish a drinking culture, but creating the safer choices for them who’re already drinking.”
The concentrate unit of these liquors is in Banglore, India. The concentrate is produced there and is imported to all the other factories. “We import these concentrates from the plant and we also import the alcoholic portion under our quality parameters: Grain Neutralised Alcohol (GNA),” Rawal informed, “Both of these components are blended and bottled in here.”
There are machines which extract all the alkaloids from the herbs. "It is a very vast and modern technique where natural contents are retained and not reduced,” he says, “After that these contents are mixed in the alcohol.”
Rawal informed that the alcohol portion is also imported which is strictly monitored under some quality parameters and needed to be approved by the owner of the brand. “We’re basically only blending and bottling over here,” he says. The bottling is done by the Bhawani Distilleries.
Chief Executive Officer
Bio Tech Spirits Nepal Pvt Ltd
Rawal shares that the company is growing steadily in the Nepali market. “I can’t say about the international scenario but within Nepal we are growing at a steady pace” he says, “but we are not quite satisfied with that.” Rawal believes that the company will be growing faster for what they are doing and their growth rate will definitely be larger than what it is now. “Currently, we are growing only at par with the industry, which is not so great,” he says, “We will be growing greater than the industry and will be the rival of the industry itself very soon.”
“We call ourselves as a domestic product and look forward to the people whose monthly income is above Rs 25,000. Rawal claims that their products are of 25 degree UP strength which is considered to be of top bracket and of international norm. It is 42- 48 % alcohol. “This segment is for the night drinkers,” Rawal says, “Our market size is probably around 1.2-1.5 million cases right now.” That much is about the market size for Nepal. “But the market size is growing,” he says.
“We’re pampering and highlighting the herbs in it,” he says, “Our whiskey is the only whiskey in Nepal, which contains honey not sugar.” Rawal says that this is their unique selling proposition. Also, he shared that they’re trying to register their product as a vegan drink which would again act as the USP for the company.
Rawal shares that they’ve already launched Bio Brandy, Bio Rum and Bio Beer in India and the company is in the process to launch Bio ranges of Wine in Australia also. Similarly, Rawal shared that negotiations are underway to launch Bio- Vodka in USA. “We will be truly international brand in few years,” Rawal says. As part of the market expansion, Rawal shared that the company is establishing a new factory in Dhading and once it is completed, they’ll be launching another brand of Rum and another brand of Whisky in Nepal itself. Rawal shared that they’re also thinking to launch Bio- Beer in Nepal.
Opportunities and Challenges
Rawal shares that the Nepali market has lots of opportunities along with numerous challenges. “As a new brand, people do not know about us and we do not have sufficient medium to reach to people,” he shares, “There are so many restrictions on alcohol, we cannot promote the product and tell people about the unique benefits that we can offer.”
“We cannot openly tell people to go and consume alcohol, we have to be very subtle and be responsible too,” he says, “We cannot tell people to get drunk. After all there is alcohol in this, it’s a drink you should drink only to socialise. So, we’re projecting this message through our tagline also,” he says.